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Gemma Summerfield

International competition success for Gemma Summerfield

Thursday 1 August 2019

Royal College of Music alumna Gemma Summerfield has won first prize in the prestigious Concorso Lirico Internazionale di Portofino, receiving 7,000 euros and the opportunity to audition for roles with some of Europe's leading opera houses.

Described as a ‘show-stopper’ by The Telegraph and a ‘fast-rising star’ by The Guardian, Gemma graduated from the RCM Opera Studio in 2016, where she studied with Rosa Mannion. In 2015, Gemma won both First Prize and the Loveday Song Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards and the Jean Miekle Prize for a Duo with fellow RCM Alumnus Sebastian Wybrew. She was recently the only British finalist in the inaugural Glyndebourne Cup and the Concours Musical International de Montréal.

The fifth year of the International Opera Competition of Portofino saw 105 singers from 38 countries competing in the village of Portofino near Genoa, Italy, from 22 to 26 July 2019. With the purpose of creating a moment of exchange between young singers at an international level, the competition offers singers the opportunity to perform in front of a jury of representatives from major opera houses in Europe.

The preliminary rounds of the competition were held over three days at the Teatrino di Portofino, before the finale on Thursday 25 July in the Villa Durazzo in Santa Margherita Ligure. Gemma’s winning repertoire included ‘Nun Eilt Herbei’ from Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and ‘Se’l mio duol non è sì forte’ from Handel’s Rodelinda.

Reflecting on her achievement, Gemma comments: ‘I’m delighted to have been awarded first prize in this competition and proud to have done myself justice in front of such a formidable panel. I am grateful to the team who make me the singer I am, which includes many RCM affiliated individuals, such as my teacher Rosa Mannion, and Philip and Christine Carne who have supported me in my studies and beyond. They are an invaluable group who constantly support and challenge, elevate and ground, expand my horizons and help me to grow as a performer.’

Having just finished a tour of Sir Thomas Allen’s Magic Flute as Pamina, the 2019/20 season will see Gemma sing Fiordiligi in Così fan Tutte for Opéra National du Rhin and Musetta in La bohème for Grange Park Opera. She will also debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The Hallé. Find out more on Gemma’s website.

To find out more about the RCM Opera Studio, visit the webpage by clicking here.